More on the Hermeneutic of Papal Rupture

Who said the following?

The word ‘Church’ does not sound the way it used to; the good name is gone today. We are in almost the same position as the people in the last century of the Middle Ages, whose impression of the Church was summed up in the call for a reform of the Church in her head and members. Every day we hear about new shortcomings of her officials: one minute we are disturbed by the obstinacy of those who defend tradition, and the next minute we nevertheless have to shake our heads again over the highhandedness of others who on account of their personal problems think the have to raise the alarm in public. . . .
We often get the impression that some demands of the Church that are (or could quite easily become) outmoded are being defended with an undiscerning stubbornness that lays burdens on people instead of helping them to be free; Jesus’ judgments on the scribes and Pharisees then come to mind. . . . “

Sounds like Pope Francis, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s “Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger” (who of course insisted that his personal writings be distinguished from his Papal writings to avoid the very kinds of confusion wrought when the personal and pre-papal writings of Bl. John Paul II were attributed to “the Pope”), in his 2009 book Credo for Today, in the chapter entitled “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
That sounds far more overtly unfriendly to “traditionalists” than anything Francis has said. Francis has, overall, been pretty even handed in condemning the extremism of both the “traditionalists” and the “progressives” in the Church.

One response to “More on the Hermeneutic of Papal Rupture

  1. As you quite correctly point out, there is a critical distinction between a pope’s personal opinions as a theologian and his official teachings as a bishop and the Vicar of Christ. I must remind myself that this is the pope who two years earlier published Summorum Pontificum (a motu proprio on the 1962 Roman Missal), which supported implementation of the apostolic constitution Quo primum of Pope Pius V published in 1570. Whether the present pope will honor the teaching of his predecessors by upholding SP and QP remains to be seen. I like popes who cultivate continuity in the pontifical office, rather than rupture. May God guide the pope and other bishops to lead their people rightly. God bless!

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